١٠ فبراير ٢٠٢٤

ERA Meydan Review

Charlie Appleby and William Buick landed yet another feature at Meydan Racecourse after Great Truth emerged as a possible candidate for the major turf sprints with a terrific late burst that saw him win the 1200m Dubai Trophy (Presented by DP World) on the line.

Run as a Conditions affair for three-year-olds on a card fully sponsored by DP World, the race attracted an interesting mix, including Ralph Beckett’s Starlust, third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. 

However, it was Heather Main’s Zoulu Chief (David Egan) that went forward to set the pace after the gates flung open.

As the third quarter began, William Knight’s Frosted filly Frost At Dawn showed intent and opened up a slight advantage, it was left to Great Truth, the favourite, and Starlust (Hector Crouch) to reel in the UK raider. 

The pair had finished fourth and second respectively behind another Appleby trainee Star Of Mystery at a similar level in the Al Wasl Stakes on January 12, and both quickened well in the final stages. However, the William Buick-ridden Great Truth, with a slightly better passage, was able to do the damage and deny Frost At Dawn what would have been a well-deserved win.

At the wire, Great Truth was a head in front with Starlust a further nose back in third. 

“He probably needed that run slightly,” said Buick of Great Truth’s fourth on his previous start. 

“This was a similar sort of race but he’s probably more of a seven-furlong horse than a six-furlong horse.

“He goes through the early part of the race fine but you can see others have a bit more toe than him. Nevertheless, he has a great attitude.”


Appleby at the double as Dynasty rules

It was one of two wins for the Appleby-Buick combination, the pair winning the subsequent 2410m Vazirabad Handicap in which Ruling Dynasty swooped in late to deny Al Nafir (Mickael Barzalona), who seemed to have wrapped up proceedings with a front running effort. Sitting off the pace, the five-year-old Night Of Thunder gelding accelerated sharply to finish with two-and-three-quarters of a length to spare as Scottish Anthem, trained jointly by Simon and Ed Crisford finished a further two-and-a-quarter lengths behind under Adrie de Vries. 

“Charlie put blinkers on him just to help him focus and it worked,” said Buick. “When Al Nafir went clear down the back I didn’t think he would stop but we picked him up well in the end.

“He (Ruling Dynasty) is a decent handicapper. Let’s see if he can take any of this form back to the UK.”


Bhupat brace pleases Zabeel handler

Appleby and Buick weren’t the only ones to sign off with a brace and that privilege was shared by their Zabeel Stables counterparts, Bhupat Seemar and Tadhg O’Shea, the defending champion jockey.  

The pair first struck in the winner-restricted 1400m turf affair with Falcon Of Arabia, who marked what was his debut with a stunning length-and-a-quarter gate-to-wire success ahead of Julio Olascoaga’s heavy favourite Auto Bahn (Barzalona). King Of Luck (Richard Mullen), also trained by Seemar, was a distant 10-and-a-quarter lengths behind in third.

A second on the night was made possible for the Seemar-O’Shea pairing by Nevershow Weakness, who claimed a third-straight win when claiming the 2000m JAFZA 80-105 handicap with a seemingly effortless performance in which he was eased off at the end. The Lord Nelson gelding still managed to coast to a five-and-a-quarter length victory ahead of Fawzi Nass’ Go Soldier Go, the ride of De Vries. Seemar also trained third in Sanad Libya, ridden by Andrew Slattery. 

“He has to be nice to do that first time,” said O’Shea of the Falcon Racing Team-owned colt. 

“He has a nice temperament, a good pedigree and he was very professional.

“He was getting a weight pull from Auto Bahn but he’d had a run and we hadn’t.”

Seemar added: “the (Listed) Al Bastikiya is only two weeks away but they’re only three-year-olds once so we might have to talk to connections and look that way.”


Shepherd delighted with first Meydan win

The evening got underway with the winner-restricted P&O Marinas 1600m contest for Purebred Arabians, which saw Jaber Bittar’s Unleashed go virtually gate-to-wire under Mullen, who gave the five-year-old son of Valiant Boy a nudge early in the straight and sat tight as he watched him cruise to a stunning 19-length success and of Eric Lemartinel’s Majdy, the ride of Jules Mobian. A further seven lengths behind was Ibrahim Al Hadhrami’s Muthabir, who did well to rally and finish nick third under Connor Beasley.

De Vries and Nass’s good form continued with Condor Pasa being forced to negotiate a bit of traffic in the turning for home but finding the space to stretch from where he quickened to run away a comfortable one-length winner of the Dubai Auto Zone 1600m maiden. The 3yo Orpen gelding was the youngest in the field and received weight from all the other contenders and won ahead of Naser Asker teammates Daahes (Oscar Chavez) and Algernon (Bernardo Pinheiro), both Musabbeh Al Mheiri trainees, who were split by a short head.

The 1600m Dubai Trade 60-85 handicap brought Musabbeh Al Mheiri a 19th winner for the season after Mickael Barzalona decided to turn on the heat in the straight after producing Mountbatten widest of all for a late sweep that denied Saeed bin Suroor a first ever success of the campaign with Wild Tiger (Hector Crouch), who was outrun close to home and went down by a half length, with Rashed Bouresly’s Hawa Bilady a further six lengths behind under Omar Salas.

A rare success went Salem bin Ghadayer’s way when Meshakel turned up the surprise winner of the DP World Logistics 70-90 handicap under Royston Ffrench, the pair edging Ahmad bin Harmash’s Mr Kafoo (Connor Beasley) by a neck with Al Arbed a further two-and-a-quarter lengths behind in third for Musabbeh Al Mheiri and Sandro Paiva. 

The card-ending 70-95 handicap over 2000m was won by the Crisfords’ for whom Intricacy struck with a sustained late effort under Callum Shepherd, the pair running home two-and-three-quarters of a length ahead of Olascoaga-trained Eye On The Prize (Jose da Silva), with Keffaaf a further neck back in third for Michael Costa and Ben Coen. 

It was Shepherd’s first winner at Meydan, and he was delighted with the achievement.

"It's very gratifying to do it," he said. 

"I thought I'd do it last time on this horse but we were assassinated in the final furlong. He was down in trip, which isn't really his bag, but this will have done his confidence a lot of good and he deserved that.

"As a visiting rider to come here and get rides isn't easy, so to have a winner is amazing. It's a place where you grew up watching the greats."